Thursday, November 22, 2007

More Sports on the Thanksgiving Holiday

By Bobby

While there will be many watching football on Thanksgiving, there will be thousands of others running around city streets across the country doing another fun Thanksgiving tradition that involves athletes, and mostly the everyday people.

Come Thanksgiving Day, there will be thousands of runners across the country (including football wives and not-shopping people) who will be hanging around the streets of their hometowns participating in a tradition since 1876 in Buffalo, NY (and even longer than Boston's Patriots Day marathon), and that is the Turkey Trot.

Considering how many people overindulge on food annually, those who are less likely to overinduge are those who have burned too many calories in turkey trots annually. Here in South Carolina, there are Turkey Trots in Myrtle Beach, Columbia (Boys and Girls Club), Hartsville, and Charleston (Knights of Columbus). All except Columbia (8,000 meters) are of the 5,000 meter type.

Atlanta has the longest of all turkeys; a 42,195 meter (five hour time limit) turkey trot, and an accompanying 21,097.5 meter (also with five hours) trot are held on Thanksgiving morning on the 1996 Olympic course (except for the start-finish area, which was demolished after the Olympics). The Atlanta Marathon is the older of the two major marathons (the Internationale Nederlanden Grope Georgia Marathon, which started in the past year, is newer and is more "elite", but is not as prestigious as the Atlanta Marathon because of the Atlanta course's rich heritage) and was moved to Thanksgiving in 1981, and in the mid-1990's went to the Olympic course which the organising Atlanta Track Club crafted for the Olympics.

So when people are waking up on Thanksgiving morning, they may be surprised to see thousands of runners in cities across the country doing turkey trots. If you're really fast and an "elite" runner you might even win aThanksgiving turkey, pies, or even be greeted by a live turkey grand marshal (and no, that turkey is never slaughtered; often that turkey is bred to be a grand marshal and greets runners in the annual trot).

As a five-time Turkey Trotter (Charleston 2002, Hartsville 2003-04, Columbia all three years, 2005-present), it might just be the most fun anyone can imagine playing sports on Thanksgiving in that they are running on Thanksgiving.

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